By Staff Reporter
PARKTOWN-Orlando Pirates have confirmed the end of a 16-year era for long-serving defender and captain Happy Jele.
Jele, who arrived on the Pirates ship back in 2006, will leave the club as one of the longest-serving players in the club’s history after the two parties decided to go their separate ways on Monday.
In a statement on the Buccaneers’ website, it was explained that the 35-year-old no longer formed part of the first team’s plans in a playing capacity, though an offer to remain within the structures in an off-the-field capacity was tabled.
However, the centre-back wishes to continue his playing career and will now be afforded the opportunity to do so elsewhere.
“Orlando Pirates Football Club can confirm that Happy Jele met with the Chairman of the Club at the end of the 2021/22 season to discuss his future,” read the club statement.
“During these deliberations, which spanned a three-week period, the Club discussed various job options available to the long-term serving defender in a non-playing capacity.
“Subsequent to this meeting, the 35-year-old was afforded time to go home and think about it.
“Ordinarily, players are released at the end of the players’ contract but in Happy’s case, as he has a special place in the Club, having served the Club so professionally over the past 16 years, the Chairman had specifically asked the player for his input.
“A follow-up meeting was held two weeks later where Happy expressed his intentions to continue playing football beyond the 2021/2022 season, an option that unfortunately is not available.
“Everyone at Orlando Pirates Football Club would like to express their enormous gratitude to Happy Jele and wish him the very best of luck for the future.”